Thursday, May 4, 2017
Darren Rosenblum, Sex Quotas and Burkini Bans, 92 Tulane L.Rev. (2017)
This Essay recounts how feminist theorists and activists managed to write their ideals into the fabric of French law and culture, and how non-feminists began to appropriate those ideals. Parité, the 2000 law that requires half of all candidates for public office be women, saw French feminists first engineer a change in French universalism to respect sex difference; although not wholly successful, Parité advanced women’s political inclusion. Then, like a drop of water in a pond, these feminist ideas disappeared in plain sight: they became intrinsic to French state norms and public values. As they became woven into state norms, however, politicians began to use them to promote exclusions: first excluding Muslims from full participation in the Republic with veil and burqa bans; then supporting exclusions of sex and class with a corporate board quota (CBQ); most recently feminist ideas have been called upon to exclude French Muslims with proposed burkini bans.